Explore nature

Let your senses become your nature guide

Many people enjoy being outdoors and experiencing nature. But to be honest, we are doing lots of other things when outdoors than just experiencing nature. For example, spending time with friends and family, talking on mobile phones, listening to music, exercizing, solving troubling work or private issues, trying to remember species’ names or identifying birds. Nature then becomes just background that we pay very little attention to.

Next time you are out there, let your senses guide you to new nature experiences. Give one sense at a time attention:

  • What sounds do you register close and far away, are they soft or sharp, frequent or rare?
  • How does nature feel, what about that tree trunk near by? How does the ground feel under your feet?
  • How does your nose experience nature? This time of year the shifts in temperature and the decomposition of leaves and grasses create palettes of scents.
  • The eyes are our most used sense and also the easiest to explore. One way to challenge your eyesight is to look for details, for example shades of green in a single tree.
  • There are plenty of edible berries, plants and mushrooms to be enjoyed, or why not focus truly on the taste of your picnic food during the break of your nature explorations.

This sensually-guided nature experience was inspired by Hans Landeström in his work on nature-guided therapy.

Enjoy the beauty, taste and smell of Pine needles. image courtesy Sara Borgström

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Winter preparations

Monday, November 16th, 2009 | Explore Everyday Nature | No Comments

Winter is here. Still, in many places without below freezing temperatures, ice and snow. One might think that there is almost nothing going on in brown-grayish colored nature. But even if slowed down, nature is not resting. While some organisms prepare for winter others are preparing for spring.

  • Help the birds that struggle for survival when it gets colder. Create a bird feeding place near where you live or on the way to school/work. This becomes a great spot for you to see many different species and also get a chance to observe their behaviour. Try to identify the birds and create a list of all species you have seen during the winter. Check out bird feeding practicalities.
  • What is the “green stuff” covering stones, tree trunks and even walls? November is “happy hour” for moss. When nothing else is growing they enjoy the wet conditions and grow fast. Taking a closer look, you will find a great diversity of form. Some look like palm trees and others like lettuce. Which one is your favorite?  Check out pictures of moss.

    moss, image courtesy: Sara Borgström

    moss, image courtesy: Sara Borgström

  • Become a phenologist. Many plants have already prepared for spring.  Before they slow down and their green parts wither, they make sure that everything is set when the temperature rise and the days become longer. Phenologists observe signs of seasonal changes like bird migrations and the start of flowering. Start right now by looking closer at the tree branches and under the leaves.
Hazel, image courtesy: Sara Borgström

Hazel, image courtesy: Sara Borgström

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It is time for harvest

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 | Explore Everyday Nature | No Comments

Food is not just found in the supermarket and in the garden, it is everywhere. Autumn is the time for both humans and animals to collect and store food for the winter.

Knowledge about how to use nature in daily life is rapidly disappearing. Ethnobiology includes not only the current use of plants and animals, but also their use across various epochs and cultures, for everything from food and medicines to clothing, tools and housing.

Ask elderly people around you what they used to collect from nature.

Many fruits and berries are rich in vitamin C, which has many important functions in relation to our health. Several can be prepared and stored as jam, jelly or dried.

What berries grow where you live, are they edible and are you allowed to pick them?

Fruits, nuts and berries are not there primarily for us to eat. They contain seeds to be spread. Many of them are colorful and sweet, and in this way entice animals to eat them.

What animals spread the seeds from the fruit, nuts and berries in your region?

Apples, image courtesy: Sara Borgström

Apples, image courtesy: Sara Borgström